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Creating a Culture of Call

Aaron Boggs
Aaron Boggs

This is a worship outline produced by Aaron Boggs, a third-year seminary student. Boggs' outline entitled, "Now Concerning Call," is based on 1 Corinthians 15:1-11 and 2 Corinthians 2:14-3:18.

It includes an introduction and explanation as well as a service outline including litany and suggested hymns.

The entire service can be easily modified for use in different settings and congregations.

Introduction

Many, I may even go so far as to say most, people struggle with their own sense of call. Why am I here? What is God’s purpose in all of this? Where will I go when I am finished here? These kinds of questions are present throughout a person’s journey. Some even come in hopes of having these questions answered. How is the community responsible for assisting an individual in knowing their call, feeling a sense of comfort in their call, and understanding their call in the context of community? How can a worship service assist members of a congregation, in understanding their call?

It is my contention that the words of Paul echo the confusion often felt by seminary students and others who are discovering and discerning their call. “Last of all, as to one untimely born, he appeared to me” (1 Corinthians 15:10). Many of us feel out of place. We were doing one thing, and we thought it was the right thing. Now, suddenly, we have had some other sense of call, whether inward or outward, and we are here doing a new thing. And, we are qualified to take on this task (2 Corinthians 3:6).

Call must, undoubtedly, be discerned within the context of community. As members of this community, we are not only responsible for understanding our own sense of call, but we are also responsible for assisting others in understanding the call that Christ has on their lives. This worship service addresses this discernment process.

Worship Arts

The worship arts should be representative of an inner struggle. A sense of call exists and people may or may not understand that sense of call. But even if they do, there is often doubt. The doubts tend to consist of inadequacy issues, as the worship arts should reflect. These arts should also represent the community surrounding the person with the struggle.

Service

*Italics are spoken words.
***HWB denotes “Hymnal, Worship Book” (blue Mennonite hymnal).

Prelude music and Welcome

A simple word of greeting to begin before the scripture reading

We Praise Christ

Veiled glory

(An African drum beat at this point in the service creating a feeling of darkness could assist in the transition from scripture to veiled glory.)

Litany of veiled glory

Reader 1: The glory of the Lord is veiled before our eyes. (Reader 1 should repeat this several times. The first time, she says this, the lights should go out. Repeating it in anguish will give the effect of being separated from God. She should pause before the last time to signal to reader 2 that his reading will begin. Drums back off in volume but build as the intensity of the litany builds.)

Reader 1: The glory of the Lord is veiled before our eyes.
Reader 2: We are blind.

1: The glory of the Lord is veiled before our eyes.
2: We are blind to our call.

1: The glory of the Lord is veiled before our eyes.
2: We are blind to the call of others.

1: The glory of the Lord is veiled before our eyes.
2: We are concerned about our own call.

1: The glory of the Lord is veiled before our eyes.
2: We ignore the call of others.

1: The glory of the Lord is veiled before our eyes.
2: We are called together as the body of Christ.

1: The glory of the Lord is veiled before our eyes.
2: We are called together to understand our call.

1: The glory of the Lord is veiled before our eyes.
2: We are called together to help others understand their call.

1: The glory of the Lord is veiled before our eyes.
2: The glory of the Lord is veiled before our eyes.

Both: And yet, we are called.
(Drumbeat is now at full volume and continues for several more moments then ends abruptly.)
Silent Prayer—should be a significant time, 2-3 minutes

Our Call

Two or three persons are invited to share their call to ministry and how they discerned that call while relating their call to the movement from veiled glory to glory revealed.
Here I am, Lord, HWB 395

We are the Aroma of Christ

African drums reenter moving into a more joyful beat.

Reader 1: The veil has been removed. We can see the glory of the Lord. Look! (Points to the triptych, which is opened at that moment.)

Aroma time: When the triptych is opened, whatever worship arts are available should be used to create a desirable smell. The scent should be such that can move throughout the whole room very quickly. (I really have no idea how to make this happen, but it’s what I envision.)

Praise the Lord, sing hallelujah, HWB 50

Glory Revealed - Litany of Response:

Paul has handed on to us as of first importance what he had in turn received:
That Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures.
Christ was buried and on the third day was raised, in accordance with the Scriptures. Christ appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve, then to more than five hundred at one time, then to James and then all the apostles.
Then, as ones untimely born, Christ appeared to us and has called us into submission.
We cannot understand this call alone.
We are called to be the aroma of Christ for God among those who are being saved and those who are perishing; to speak and act sincerely in Christ to expand the kingdom of God.
The glory of God can only be revealed with the help of the body of Christ and the Holy Spirit.
We are called.
We are called to help each other understand Christ’s call on our lives.
We are called.
With the support of this community, we will answer God’s call.

Proclamation

God loves all his many people, HWB 397

Support and Sending

As worship comes to a close, we will unite as a community by holding hands, even across the aisles. There will be a time of prayer in which the leader will express the above message—that is to pray that each member of the community (even those who are not present at the worship service, who I believe are often the ones left out of community events whether by choice or otherwise) will receive the support they need to discern their call while providing support for other members to discern their call. They will be dismissed following the closing prayer.

As a symbol of our unity as a community of believers and travelers on this journey, I ask you to join hands with each other, across the aisles. Let’s pray together.

God, we stand before you with our hands clasped together, signifying the special bond of community we share. We realize that this isn’t only a personal journey. It is about our call, but it is also about each others call.

We are committed to help each other as we discern our callings. We open ourselves up to allow your spirit to speak to us as we listen to one another’s stories, and we ask that your spirit will speak through us as we share our own journey.

We commit ourselves to provide support for one other, for those who are not here in this room, and for those of us who are gathered here. As we continue discerning your special calling on each of our lives, we ask you to go with us. Amen.  

Notes

People Involved in the Service:
Worship Leader: ______________________________
Music Leader: ________________________________
Instrumentalists/Soloists: _______________________
Soundperson: ________________________________
Worship Arts: _________________________________
2 Readers: ___________________________________

"Now Concerning Call" was created by Aaron Boggs, a third-year Masters of Divinity student at EMS, and adapted for the congregational worship setting by Jill Landis. This is the second, in a series of six EMS worship services, based on 1 & 2 Corinthians. Special thanks to Boggs for permission to share this worship outline.

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